SGPC demands action
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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 24, 2007
SGPC demands action against Dera Sacha Sauda chief
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SGPC demands action against Dera Sacha Sauda chief

Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), the management body of Sikh shrines, has demanded a probe into the fraud charges filed against Dera Sacha Sada chief Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh.

Amritsar/ Bathinda/ Sirsa, May 24 : Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), the management body of Sikh shrines, has demanded a probe into the fraud charges filed against Dera Sacha Sada chief Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh.

Singh is an accused in the murder of Ram Chandra Chhatrapati, the editor of the Sirsa-based evening tabloid Poora Sach, which reported on alleged sexual exploitation of women in Dera camps.

"After the SGPC meeting, we have decided to ask the Central Government to pursue all cases of fraud against the Dera chief vigorously. They should take action against the Dera, the cases going on against it, and the enquiry should not be delayed, to bring his true face forward," SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar told reporters in Amritsar.

"SGPC will lend support to anyone who wants to unmask him," Makkar added.

A sectarian row was sparked off last week after Singh dressed himself up as Guru Gobind Singh.

The SGPC has since been demanding that the Dera shut all of its camps in the state.

Singh has regretted his act, but Sikh leaders are not satisfied and want a public apology, which he has refused to give so far.

Makkar has appealed to Dera followers to return to the mainstream.

"This issue should not be politicised. I appeal to my people who have joined the sect that they are always welcome to return to Sikhism," he said.

Skirmishes between rival groups flared into mob violence last week when the Akal Takht urged Sikhs to boycott the Dera Sacha Sauda sect.

One person was killed and over 50 were injured in sectarian clashes in different cities, mainly in Punjab, Haryana and Jammu.

Paramilitaries and riot police were deployed in Punjab and Haryana, where the Dera sect has its headquarters, to counter the possibility of an outbreak of violence.

"Security is strong in all the dera (sect's religious camps). We will have them so long as we require them. The paramilitary forces will stay with us," Director General of Police, Punjab N P S Aulakh, said in Bathinda after a visit to the areas hit by violence.

The Dera sect, founded in 1948 and based in Sirsa town of Haryana, has 36 branches across 11 states.

The Dera sect, which has tens of thousands of followers, says it is a social organisation that believes in the oneness of God and does not adhere to a particular faith, although its leader wears a turban and has a long beard in the Sikh style.

ANI

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